China closely monitors its incubator in Louvain-la-Neuve12/11/2018

The China-Belgium Technology Center (CBTC), officially launched in 2016 in Louvain-la-Neuve, aims to facilitate Chinese business location in Europe, as well as access to the Chinese market for Walloon companies. The first buildings were expected to open in January 2020.

The first phase of the construction of the China Belgium Technology Center (CBTC) is starting to take shape. In total, the three phases of this project will cost €200 million, making it China's largest investment in Wallonia. Hubei province is monitoring this investment very closely, since the main investor in the CBTC, United Investment Europe, originates from the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

According to Michel Kempeneers, Inspector-General of the Wallonia Export-Investment Agency, the CBTC represents "a wonderful story" that should facilitate the development of collaborations around high value-added technologies. The China-Belgium Technology Center will be implemented by four partners: the Wallonia Export-Investment Agency, UCL, Juxing International and the IBW. The work is expected to take eight years to complete and will ultimately host five incubators of high-tech Chinese companies specialising in biotechnology, nanotechnology, IT and telecommunications, optoelectronics and sustainable development. This project, spread over 120,000 m², will include offices, a 160-room hotel, a service and conference centre, logistical services and car parks. Over the coming decade, 1,600 jobs should be created by the CBTC, 40% of which will be taken by Chinese and 60% by Belgians.

By investing in the CBTC, the Chinese want to enable their leading companies to take inspiration from European companies and better understand this market, while continuing to develop their technologies. For Walloon entrepreneurs, the incubator will foster the exchange of good practices and technological partnerships. The incubator will also allow Chinese companies with similar activities to forge closer links, in a context of mutual benefit. Finally, Europeans will benefit from a more accessible gateway to the Chinese market.

The Wallonia Export-Investment Agency has played a key role in this project, presenting it to the national authorities, whose support was essential in bringing the site of the incubator to Europe. "As the first Chinese technological showcase of its kind in Europe, the CBTC is an ideal platform for collaboration and convergence between European companies, and Walloon companies in particular, and the companies that are the symbols of a new, connected, modern and entrepreneurial China, eager to forge long-term partnerships," explained Pascale Delcomminette, CEO of the Wallonia Export-Investment Agency. The establishment of the CBTC in Louvain-la-Neuve is therefore a great success for Wallonia, Belgium and Europe.

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